William I improved the quality of the English coinage while he was king, but when William II took over, it went downhill. It would continue that way until Henry II became king in 1154, Henry’s first coins were not good, but his later ones were a distinct improvement. Most Rufus coins were really ugly. This one does not look like much, but it’s actually better than average. The wording is quite clear although the portrait is mostly missing, and the planchet is partially split. And here is my new one. This is an S-1260, which is the most common variety with stars on either side of the portrait but all I can say about this piece is "WOW!" I have net seen anything close to it. Here are the contents of my "bullet book" which I have compiled to help me learn the history of each British king. · William the Conqueror gave his eldest son, Robert, the duchy of Normandy, and selected William II to succeed him as king of England. William the Conqueror belittled Robert because of his short stature. He referred to him as Robert Courtheuse which, in Norman French, translated to “short stockings.” · William was a very competent military man which probably accounted for his selection as the king. He put down two attempts to replace him as king. · William had a red face which was enhanced by his drinking and further inflamed when he became angry. Hence he had the nickname, “Rufus,” the red. There are other accounts that attribute his nickname to his red hair. · Rufus blasphemed the church and often used foul language. He rejected the church and misappropriated its funds. When an abbot or bishop died, Rufus did not appoint a replacement. Instead he took charge of the church property and took the income from it for himself. It is therefore no surprise that the monks characterized Rufus as an evil person who had the characteristics of a witch. · His debaucheries were described as “hateful to God and man.” It was said that young men minced their gait with lose gestures and walked around half naked in William’s court. These stories may have been enhanced by the churchman given William’s continuing feuds with the clergy. · William was a flashy dresser. He wore expensive clothes and shoes. · Like almost all Normans, William loved to hunt. The Normans set aside over 70 hunting preserves around England that were designated for the use of Norman royalty only. Anyone who was caught hunting in those areas was punished by blinding and other mutilations. Those who lived near the preserves could not have dogs unless the animals had one of the toes on their front paws removed to prevent the dog from hunting and chasing game. · William was killed in a “hunting accident” when a Norman nobleman, Walter Tyrel, missed a deer and hit the king instead. William’s brother, Henry, who was also in the hunting party immediately rushed to Westminster where he laid claim to the royal treasury and the crown. · Tyrel returned to Normandy immediately. Henry awarded Tyrel’s brothers in law, Gilbert and Robert of Clare, special favors. · William II was the only British king who never married. Some historians concluded that William II was gay. · Starting with the coins of William II, the quality of the British coinage suffered. The coins would not improve until the reign of King Henry II (1154 to 1189). · The second Rufus coin, shown on the previous page, was stuck with a broken die on a split planchet. The piece has a poor portrait, but the lettering is sharp. I have seen other pieces with a good portrait, but the lettering was missing in part or in its entirety. The piece at the top is of exceptional quality.